In last week’s Kansas primaries, officials turned away a 97-year-old woman named Beth Hiller at the polling place. The reason? She didn’t have an ID with her. Thanks to a recent state law, Hiller had to get back on the shuttle and head back to her nursing home without getting to exercise her most basic right. In theory, conservatives are supposed to oppose laws that don’t solve a problem and have unintended consequences. But voter ID is the clearest example we have of a law that helps nobody and hurts lots of people — yet these laws have been a major priority for Republican legislators across the country. A report from the Brennan Center identifies 22 states, including Kansas, that have implemented new voting restrictions since the Republican wave of 2010. Take North Carolina, where unified Republican control was followed almost immediately by a sweeping set of changes restricting access to the polls. For no good reason, North Carolina cut out a week worth of early-voting days, ended same-day registration, and put a strict voter ID requirement in place, among other changes.
A federal judge upheld North Carolina’s package of voter-restriction laws last week. The judge in the case, Bush appointee Thomas Schroeder, claimed that the harm to voters just wasn’t big enough to overturn the law. Unfortunately, it’s a lot easier for North Carolina to push through voting changes like this, thanks to the Supreme Court’s gutting of the Voting Rights Act last year. Multiple states rushed to clamp down on voting in reaction to the verdict.
A spokesman for North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory called the voting restrictions “common-sense protections that preserve the sanctity of the voting booth.”
I don’t blame average voters for thinking voter ID makes sense. If you’re not up on the details of the issue, the notion has a certain appeal; after all, you want the election to reflect the will of legitimate voters. But even a cursory look at the evidence shows that voter ID blocks plenty of legitimate voters — people like Beth Hiller — without actually solving a problem that exists.
No, the fault is with politicians like Gov. Pat McCrory, who cynically lie to their constituents, claiming that the integrity of elections is in doubt as an excuse for a pure power grab.
Full Article: There’s No Good Argument For Voting Restrictions.